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    If Your Level Of Effort Is A Messy Top Knot, Here Are 34 Beauty Products To Try

    Gather round with your day-four hair and learn about these things that'll help you do the bare minimum while looking totally put-together.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. AsaVea Teeth Whitening Pen, 2 pens you easily apply and let sit a minute or two to dry. Buh-bye annoying strips and coffee stains.

    Reviewer before and after showing the pen noticeably whitened their yellow teeth

    I'm using a similar pen and it is sooooo easy. I even used it a few minutes before a video meeting this week!

    Promising review: "I always worry whether this stuff will actually work, look good, be easy to use, taste decent, be safe for my teeth... and this stuff has it all and I'm more than impressed! This photo is just after TWO uses!! Love this product!" —Mindy

    Get a two-pack from Amazon for $19.99.

    2. LONDONTOWN Kur Instant Smudge Fix, something I wish I knew about eons ago because I'm forever smudging my at-home AND salon manis when I decide to actually put in a lil' bit of effort.

    before pic of smudged nail polish and then an after pic of the same fingernail looking perfectly polished

    Promising review: "I rarely ding my nails, but did recently just as I was leaving the salon. I carry this with me in my manicure bag and it works perfectly. My manicurist was amazed! Highly recommend." —ZLIONNE

    Get it from Amazon for $14.

    3. Kitsch Microfiber Hair Towel gently sops up water while you go about your day. Trust me, this is better than any other towel turbans out there. I own three.

    Black model with leopard print towel turban on their head

    I own this beaut in this pattern, a polka dot print, and a tropical leafy print. I swore by the Turbie Twist for awhile (which is closer to an actual towel) but this microfiber fabric is far gentler on hair. Plus it feels lighter on my head/neck, which is great news for someone like me taking lunchtime showers while working from home and putting off blow drying my hair for as long as possible. It has elastic along the edges that helps it wrap around my head comfortably, and a stretchy loop at the front that I can twist back and put on a large button at the back of my head. Suffice it to say, it's super user-friendly. I can easily throw it in the wash with the rest of my towels and hang it up on a bathroom door hook to let it dry between uses. I wish I bought three of these years ago.

    Get it from Amazon for $18.97.

    4. And Kitsch Spiral Hair Ties keep your strands outta your face but won't make weird dents like elastic bands. After all, you're washing your hair about once a week now so let's avoid having to restyle it as much as possible.

    model with top half of hair up in a messy bun and the phone cord-like band on wrist

    Promising review: "I have shoulder length, fine hair. When I relax at home I like to put my hair up and when I’m out and about I sometimes like to wear a messy bun. Until I found these, my cute buns were more work than leaving it down and my at home updo was severe and not attractive. These hair cords allow me to do quick and easy messy buns so my hair can be cute at home and when I’m out." —ReviewMistress

    Get a four-pack from Amazon for $5.99 (also available in colors).

    5. Or if you don't care about putting a dent in your hair, Goody Slideproof Elastics contain your sweaty mane in a ponytail or bun as intended while you feel like you're about to meet your maker in brutal workout classes. I have a MANE of hair and it keeps it where it's supposed to be.

    Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed, Amazon

    If these things stay put while I'm dying on a stationary bike in an indoor cycling class, I'm sure they'll do the same for you! They're thick elastic bands with little nubs on them that help keep the hair tie in a position. Now, these *will* put a dent in your hair but oh my gosh your ponytail will stay in place.

    Get a 10-pack from Amazon for $3.21.

    6. Corsx Acne Pimple Master Patches attack and help flatten out painful blemishes by sucking out the gunk without irritating your skin around the blemish like drying treatments.

    Promising review: "Omg, where has this been my whole life? Why did nobody talk about hydrocolloid patches when I was a teen? These truly do shrink your pimples (as long as it is an open or popped one). I just put one on before bed and by morning, voilà! All that's left is a small bump, if anything at all. I seriously couldn't believe my eyes. (All those years of suffering from acne! I'm in my thirties now with hormonal acne, btw.) These are magic!" —Julie W.

    Get a four-pack of 24 patches each from Amazon for $13.74. Check out our full Cosrx Acne Pimple Patches review!

    7. Bomba Curls Dominican Forbidden Oil is infused with pure coffee seed and castor oil mean to moisturize your hair and scalp, while promoting hair growth and making your strands look glossier.

    Black model with natural hair with bouncier, fuller curls after using the oil
    Bomba Curls

    Bomba Curls is a WOC-owned business founded by Lulu Cordero and inspired by her Afro-Dominicana roots. The products are meant to help curly-haired folks naturally boost growth and achieve maximum length retention.

    Promising review: "Very lightweight and has a great smell to it as well. It did not weigh down my hair and it gave my hair great shine through out the week." —Nordstrom Customer

    Get it from Nordstrom or Bomba Curls for $22.

    8. BestLan Hair Finishing Stick looks just like a mascara wand but its shaping cream tames your flyaways on those days when throwing your hair up in a bun or ponytail is all you can muster. Soooo, lots of days.

    person with hair pulled back and tons of hair wisps, then after with it looking smooth thanks to the product

    Promising review: "I cannot put my hair up in a high pony or bun now *without* using this product. It truly tames every flyaway and keeps them tame for hours — I come home after a nine-hour day and they’re still in place. I have a 15-month-old baby and have had crazy postpartum hair growth, especially along my hairline near my forehead, and this product has been a godsend." —Heather H.

    Get it from Amazon for $7.98.

    9. Camryn's BFF Gentle Edges Brush smooths and lays your edges (if you want to). It has two ends — one that'll massage your scalp to increase blood flow and a mini comb — for a tiny multi-tasking tool.,

    It goes without saying that you 100% do not need to lay your edges if you don't want to!

    Promising review: "Does as advertised, and it's not too harsh on your edges." —Alexandria Quist

    Get it from Amazon for $1.69.

    10. Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment goes on cooling and smooth, is easy to blend in, and will make you look in the mirror five minutes later wondering where all that redness went! I sometimes use it as a moisturizer under my foundation and some reviewers even use it as a CC cream. It's *that* good. And it has SPF 30!

    Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

    Like I said up there ^, I use this every single day and to demonstrate just how well it works, I put it on half of my face in the pic on the left. Seriously, the color cancelling prowess is impressive. Also it took me nearly a year to go through the full-size jar. So if the price has you feeling iffy, you can try out a travel version. Seriously, I'm forever indebted to this stuff.

    Promising review: "I have rosacea on both my cheeks and a bit on chin and also have a couple of acne spots on my chin as well and I’ve tried so many foundations to cover up my cheeks and no matter how full coverage my cheeks will still show through. So I decided to try this and I love it!!!! I use this after primer and moisturizer and then use a foundation (because I fake tan and my face is paler than my body) and my skin looks amazing!!! I’m so impressed! I love makeup but I could never really use a lot of face products because I was embarrassed. Definitely recommend if you have rosacea and want to wear full coverage foundation or even as a BB cream." —elyse1518

    Get it from Sephora for $18+ (available in two sizes).

    11. Or Stila One Step, Color Correcting Facial Serum works as a makeup primer that's a step above the rest for anyone looking to create an even-tone canvas for foundation... or find a color-correcting solution that'd leave you makeup-free.

    reviewer pic showing a very bad sunburn on the face then the same reviewer with makeup on and looking a bit tan rather than severely sunburned

    This reviewer ^ used it to cover up a bad sunburn!

    Promising review: "I have rosacea all over my face, especially in my cheeks, sensitive skin with enlarged pores, and my T-zone is usually oily (I know, I have everything!). You have to apply one pump of the product on the back of your hand and mix it (it will turn green and don't be scared the color will disappear after it settles) and then you apply it all over your face, let it sit for one minute and you will see the difference. It's magic! For those of us with rosacea, we need to apply foundation as well, but this primer alone creates a nice canvas. The texture is weightless and it blends imperceptibly into your skin and won't clog pores or settle into fine lines." —UGdg

    Get it from Amazon for $36.

    12. Nature Republic Aloe Vera Gel is, IMO, a multi-tasking miracle worker. This cooling gel soaks in immediately for moisturizing benefits on the reg, post-shave soothing or treating some gnarly sunburn (that in hindsight I should've gone to the dermatologist about).

    Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

    Yes, those are my poor sunburned legs from a few summers ago when I really sold me soul to this amazing aloe vera gel because it soaks in so fast that I could layer on cooling layer after cooling layer. Check out my full Nature Republic aloe vera review to get all the deets on its benefits.

    Get it from Amazon for $9.23.

    13. Exfoliating Gloves buff away dead flaky skin, which is always a good thing. But it's *especially* a good thing if you follow up your exfoliation with some self-tanner. Plus there's a loop for hanging 'em to dry!

    person's hand in glove

    I have a super similar pair of exfoliating gloves and love to use them in the shower! These gloves are safe for all skin types and are recommended to use once or twice a week.

    Promising review: "I bought these to replace an old pair of exfoliating gloves. I bought the heavy version but didn’t really understand what I was getting. These arrived and I was shocked at the quality and the thickness of the fabric. I never realized how my old gloves felt sharp on my skin. These give me a good, even exfoliated feel without the scratchiness of my old gloves.

    I have large hands for a woman and there’s plenty of room in these. They shrink down when they’re not wet so they can fit smaller hands and my husband’s hands could easily fit into these because they stretch. The gloves also go on and off easily and without a lot of hassle." —ReviewMistress

    Get them from Amazon for $7.99+ (available in eight colors).

    14. Or a Luv Scrub body exfoliating sheet for a super versatile way to dry brush, slough away dead skin, or help remove ingrown hairs.

    the mesh sheet scrubber
    Luv Scrub

    Luv Scrub is a Black woman-owned business based in Brookyln, New York that sells products inspired by a traditional West African morning routine. My colleague Heather Braga loves it. Here's what she has to say:

    "I've personally met the owner, Caroline, and she is an actual ray of sunshine. In addition to being a fan of hers, I'm a big fan of this product — I personally love using it in the tub to exfoliate my legs. The best part about it? It lasts for up to 18 months! No more loofahs for you."

    Get it from Luv Scrub for $18.

    15. Fluide Universal Gloss provides some shimmer in a gorgeous pink you can add to lips, eyelids, cheekbones, or any other spot where you wanna *dazzle.*


    Fluide is a queer-owned and woman-owned business! This item is cruelty-free, vegan, paraben-free, and phthalate-free.

    Get it from Fluide for $15 (available in five colors).

    16. Cuccio Cuticle Oil smells heavenly, but most importantly will treat sorry-looking cuticles and moisturize your paws. Oh, and it'll look lovely on your vanity. I have this and it takes just a few seconds each day!,

    Promising review: "This Cuccio milk and honey cuticle moisturizer is truly a cuticle saver. Applying one drop to each cuticle and massaging it in completely will leave your cuticles and hands feeling soft, looking great and the smell is divine. I use it on both my hands and feet and I’m comfortable showing my fingernails and toenails this summer because this product has made it so easy to feel confident knowing I won’t have crusty cuticles." —Rina C

    Get it from Amazon for $5.63+ (available in four scents and two sizes).

    17. And O'Keeffe's Foot Cream rehabs cracked, painful heels. Here's to going to bed without socks!

    person's cracked painful looking heal, then it looking better after second week, then normal after fourth week of use

    Promising review: "I have tried EVERYTHING, but because I am barefoot all the time, my heels crack (gross!!!!!!)... a lot. Sometimes they split open and it can be incredibly painful. I've tried creams, lotions, oils, you name it. Based on the reviews on Amazon, I thought I would give this foot cream a try, because I had recently had a split appear, and it was super painful to walk on. After about three days of applying this cream at bedtime, the pain started to go away because the healing process was kicked into gear by my skin finally being soft enough to do its thing. It leaves a weird residue on your hands after application, (which could probably easily be washed off if I wasn't already cozied up in bed), but it made all the difference for my normally cracked and dry heels. I notice I get much better results when I use it daily, (so if you skip a few days, you'll notice it won't work as well). Consistency is key, but it really does work!" —Faith Mendelson

    Get it from Amazon for $9.35.

    18. Glossier Solution scrubs pores and skin with a trio of Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA), and Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) to help loosen the yucky stuff to make way for lightened scars, smaller-looking pores, and fewer blemishes. (If you aren't into chemical exfoliation yet, you're skin is really missing out!)


    Promising review: "This cleared up my skin after only a week of use :’) I use it every night and it gives my skin such a healthy glow and I can see some of my dark spots fading!! My skin has been at its best state ever since I’ve started using Glossier Solution." —cheska

    Get it from Glossier for $24.

    19. A pair of satin pillowcases keep the moisture in your skin while ya' snooze. AND keep your hair looking smooth and significantly less frizzy for an easier morning routine. Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention they're lovely for folks who like the cool side of the pillow.

    model hugging a pillow covered in the pillowcase

    I own these in the dark gray and LOVE them. I even pack one to go on vacations so my hair and skin stay looking moisturized and refreshed. You *may* think that this is a product you don't need to own and that your cotton pillowcases are perfectly fine... that is until you try one of these. Seriously, I cannot recommend them enough.

    Get it from Amazon for $9.99 (available in 16 colors and three sizes).

    20. Essence Cosmetics Princess False Lash Effect Mascara makes for a super dramatic before and after. Prepare to get grilled about where you got your eyelash extensions., @essencemakeup / Via

    Promising review: "Don’t let the price fool you. I reach for this over and over. Great for when you wear falsies too! I have sensitive eyes and I don’t have any problems with this mascara, no flaking, running, or burning. I will buy again and again." —Monica

    Get it from Amazon for $4.99 (also available in waterproof and sculpted volume versions).

    21. Sun Bum Tinted Lip Balm with SPF 15 I can personally vouch for. It's easy to put on without a mirror, is super moisturizing, and has color that tints your lips for the day. If you're afraid of lipstick, this is a safe bet. I keep not one, but two(!) in my purse at all times.

    model's arm with different color swatched on it

    Even on days when I'm feeling sick or have to pull myself out of my bed because I *do* have to earn a living,

    Get it from Amazon for $4.49+ (available in five shades).

    22. Fresh Sugar Lip Balm delivers moisture, SPF 15, *and* lasting color that won't overwhelm your look (especially in this Velvet hue). This stuff is LEGIT.


    Promising review: "One of my favorite shades of my favorite lip balm [Sugar Poppy Tinted]! Color + SPF, what more do you need? And I love that the top screws on so it won’t come off in your pocket or purse." —anne761

    Get it from Sephora for $24 (available in 15 shades).

    23. Pond's Cold Cream Cleanser ever so gently removes your makeup *and* moisturizes at the same time. Seriously, the waterproof-iest of waterproof mascara and eyeliner is no match for this potion. No grease left behind like liquid eye makeup removers!

    the jar of cold cream on a makeup table

    Promising review: "This is my favorite cleanser of all time. I have EXTREMELY dry skin and even the most 'gentle' cleansers will make me dry up like a lizard and peel. However, I discovered Pond's a few years back and it is a miracle worker. A little goes a very long way and because it's a cream, it applies like a lotion that sits on the skin, and is super easy to remove without tugging at my skin. And the best doesn't dry me out. It also works EXTREMELY well to remove makeup. I hate liquid eye makeup removers because they always leave me feeling greasy, but this stuff removes even the hardest of liners, foundations, you name it, but is still gentle enough to use around my eyes." —HaleyDanielleReviewer

    Get a two-pack from Amazon for $9.14.

    24. Or a MakeUp Eraser washcloth easily takes off a full face of makeup with mere water. Then if you flip it to the other side you can use it to exfoliate your skin!

    person with half clean face and half face full of makeup

    So really the only thing this can't do is clean your house. This was our mid-price pick for the best makeup removers. And I've used one! For YEARS. It launders really well and is big enough to use for a few days before you have to launder it.

    Get it from Amazon for $20. Also check out a three-pack of dupes that work nearly as well and are slightly less gentle for $5.25.

    25. 2•4•1 Cosmetics Lip Gloss in Power, a sheer plum gloss that slides on oh-so-easy thanks to a doe-foot applicator. I think I just found your new go-to.

    the lip gloss
    2•4•1 Cosmetics

    This Black woman-owned company was founded by twin sisters who are political refugees from Eritrea. This lip gloss formula is creamy, fragrance-free, and hypoallergenic!

    Get it from 2•4•1 Cosmetics for $18.

    26. SOL by Jergens Deeper by the Drop Self Tanning Drops easily combine with your moisturizer to help pale folks develop a ~glow~ overnight.

    reviewer pic with pale skin before using the tanning drops, then same leg looking more golden tan

    Promising review: "Works better than all the high-end products I have tried. Would definitely recommend!! It does have a strong 'self tanner' smell, but I personally don't mind that. This picture is after letting it develop overnight." —Whitney

    Get it from Amazon for $17.99.

    27. Fourth Ray Beauty Vanilla Pearl Lip Mask swipes on beautifully (both in texture and shimmer) as a bedtime treat to prep your lips for whatever the next day awaits them. Matte lipstick? Lip stain? Whatever you're planning, this mask will help prep!

    open jar of silvery-white lip mask

    I have and love this lip mask. The jar looks great on my nightstand (OK, not the most important thing to me but it *does* matter some) as a great lil' reminder about putting some on before I go to bed. Like all masks, it's a little sticky at first but it seeps in well enough by the time I drift off to sleep before I really start tossing and turning (I move a lot when I sleep). It never ends up in a sticky mess when I wake up, which is what I expected to happen once I learned that overnight lip masks were a thing a few years back. Plus a lil' goes a long way so it feels like a solid investment.

    Get it from ColourPop for $10.

    28. La Pure Waterproof Eyeliner Samp I'd be remiss if I didn't recommend it to you now while we're all easing a bit back into the world and you're likely a bit out of cat-eye practice.,

    Perhaps you're like me and don't feel done up until you have an eyeliner flick. This'll help!

    Promising review: "I am not one to write reviews often, but this product has exceeded my expectations! I normally use liquid liners such as Kat Von D Tattoo, but this has drastically reduced the time it takes for me to create a winged look! I personally prefer a longer wing, but this stamp provides a template to work with and reduces the amount of time to create ‘sister’ wings — they’re pretty much twins now! The eyeliner pen itself it’s a bit broad for me, but the pigment is great!" —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $13.97 (available in two sizes).

    29. GIRL+HAIR ACV Hair Rinse helps clear your scalp of buildup, reduces dandruff, and adds volume whether you're wearing your hair in a protective style or not. (Don't worry, reviewers say it doesn't reek of ACV.)

    the bottle of product

    This Black woman-owned haircare line was founded by Dr. Camille Verovic with a mission to change the way women care for their natural hair and the line is made of performance-based natural ingredients (think stuff like rice water, vitamin E, chamomile). This product is vegan, color-safe, cruelty-free, and safe for all hair types.

    Promising review: "This stuff is amazing! It has a cooling effect on the scalp that feels just heavenly, and it’s not a slight feeling, it’s pretty intense. The nozzle allows for easy application, and I was able to massage it into my scalp very easily. It does not smell too strong of ACV, which is a good thing. It rinsed out easily and did not weigh my curls down. I felt that any buildup I had was effectively removed, and at the same time, it was not drying to my scalp or hair. Use with a scalp massager if you want to be blown away. Also love the ingredients and that it is CGM-approved! Perfect clarifying rinse!" —Robin

    Get it from Amazon for $12.99.

    30. Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 with tinted options for your face because no one, let me repeat, NO ONE should be walking around sans SPF. No excuses! But the uptick in temps is a solid reminder.,

    Promising review: "This sunscreen spreads so well. A little goes a long way, and if you are Black, it won't leave you looking 'ashy.' It also has a very light smell. I like it!" —Jaliane

    Get it from Amazon for $9.29+ (available in several shades and sunscreen types).

    31. And Black Girl Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 beloved by reviewers with melanated skin. It rubs in (like, actually rubs in) and doesn't leave any ashy white effect.

    Buzzfeed writer holding a bottle of the sunscreen
    Marquaysa Battle / BuzzFeed

    My colleague Marquaysa Battle also swears by the stuff (and she's so great about skincare!). Here's what she has to say:

    "Babyyy! This was the best beauty find of 2020 for me. The first body sunscreen I've found that does NOT leave me looking ashy. Wearing sunscreen regularly (yup, even in the fall) is one of my new self-care methods and I feel good putting this on knowing it a) doesn't look ghostly on me and b) was made by Black women just like me." Promising review: "My daughter used the original formula and I used the kid's version. We wore it outdoors all day in direct sunlight at the beach and pool (without reapplying like we're supposed to). It worked well, and we didn't have that white hue from other sunscreens. Now, I feel more inclined to wear it more often. Even better, our sensitive skin didn't react to it, not even on our faces." —amsirahC

    Get it from Target for $15.99.

    32. Everyday Humans Wonder Salve works as a lip balm and salve for anywhere your skin is dry. Plus it's petroleum-free and has a nice watermelon flavor you'll love.

    person putting the balm on their lips

    I have this and mainly use it as a lip balm but sometimes rub it on my knuckles (that get dry from overwashing my hands, so it's been a YEAR for that). Plus, it's cruelty-free!

    Get it from Amazon for $9.

    33. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil emulsifies and lifts makeup (yep, it's making my waterproof mascara and liner melt in this pic mid-wash) for a super gentle makeup removal technique you can use solo or follow up with a gentle cleanser.

    writer with foundation and mascara dissolving on face holding a bottle of the cleanser
    Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

    I know this is a truly horrifying pic of myself to put on the Internet. But I would for this GOAT. This oil cleanser has been a cult product awhile and I've tried all sorts of cleansing oils and balms in pursuit of something that's gentle enough for my dry, rosacea-laden skin but effective on my heavy makeup routine. (Most other products just clogged up my sink and had me reaching for my Makeup Eraser for cleanup.) This product deserves every accolade you've ever read about it! This pic is a celebration of using a whole 6.7 oz. bottle, which lasts for months and months btw. You simply apply it to a dry face, massage in, then add some water. It emulsifies and becomes white, and really starts to break down makeup. It's also gentle enough for my eye area (as you can see) and makes rinsing off all that makeup super easy. After I took this pic, I rinsed all the makeup leftovers still visible on my face with just my water and hands. The bottle's pump design makes it even more user-friendly. Sometimes I just use this cleansing oil solo, but most often follow up with Dr. Loretta Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, which has become another go-to for my routine.

    Get a 2.3 oz. bottle from Target for $13.99 or three size options from Dermstore for $5.50+.

    34. COLAB Overnight Renew Dry Shampoo blasts your greasy roots with a formula that works for you while you sleep. It's a heavier duty spray than regular dry shampoo but soaks in overnight for an easier morning routine.

    model with greasy roots as before then model with voluminous, fresh roots

    I have this dry shampoo and it really does work so much harder than regular dry shampoo formulas. When you spray it on, it's more likely to look stark white (don't freak out about it like I did!), but you simply rub it in like you would a normal dry shampoo before you hit the hay. Waking up with de-greased roots definitely gives me a head start on trying to pull myself together these days when, tbh, I'm only (regular) washing my hair once a week. Because this stuff is so potent though, you should really only use it before bedtime. If you're curious about their regular dry shampoos, they're great! The Unicorn scent in particular smells lovely.

    Get it from Walmart for $6.38 or Bed Bath & Beyond for $6.99.

    Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    Need more for your skin? Check out Korean skincare products you need to know, cheap skincare products that are even better than luxury brands, products for an even skin tone or to deal with acne scars, or check out all of our beauty content for even more great stuff for your hair, skin, and more.

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